Chew on this, the AFC West jinx
Since 2002, when we had 16 teams in each conference aligned into 4 divisions each, no team that is part of the AFC West or that has played the AFC West in its entirety has won the SuperBowl. The closest to get to the SB was the Oakland Raiders that lost to the Bucs in 2002. Below are listed the AFC and NFC divisions that all SB contenders played since the 2002 re-alignment.
2002 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers (AFC North, NFC North) vs Oakland Raiders (AFC East, NFC West)
2003 - New England Patriots (AFC South, NFC East) vs Carolina Panthers (AFC South, NFC East)
2004 - New England Patriots (AFC North, NFC West) vs Philadelphia Eagles (AFC North, NFC North)
2005 - Pittsburgh Steelers (AFC South, NFC North) vs Seattle Seahawks (AFC South, NFC East)
2006 - Indianapolis Colts (AFC East, NFC East) vs Chicago Bears (AFC East, NFC West)
2007 - New York Giants (AFC East, NFC North) vs New England Patriots (AFC North, NFC East)
2008 - Pittsburgh Steelers (AFC South, NFC East) vs Arizona Cardinals (AFC East, NFC East)
Plus, Tom Brady's worst years (not making the playoffs in 2002, losing to Denver in the divisional round in 2005, and blowing his knee in 2008) have all come when he played (or was supposed to play) the AFC West in its entirety. Go figure.
So, does that mean I can definitely say the AFC North winners or the NFC East winners are not going to make it to the SB (unless it is the AFC West winner Chargers themselves (assuming), like the Raiders in 2002):) ? It could favor the Chargers because the last 3 SBs have had the winner come from the NFC East or play the NFC East in its entirety. Chargers have a difficult schedule like the Steelers did last year and we all know what happened to the Steelers.
But then you have this pattern as well which excludes the AFC West:
2004 - AFC East vs NFC East
2005 - AFC North vs NFC West
2006 - AFC South vs NFC North
2007 - AFC East vs NFC East
2008 - AFC North vs NFC West
2009 - AFC South vs NFC North (????????????)
Patterns are funny.
We will have to see which one continues.[:)] (the last 3 year patterns favor the Chargers making it to the SB, the last 5 years favor the Colts making it to the SB). But one common theme in all 7 years, the AFC or NFC team playing the entire AFC West does not make it to the SB and an AFC West team does not win the SB.
I hope that trend continues for one more year! Very interesting. Super sleuthing, chad.
Next year's schedule is brutal. NFC East and the AFC West. Plus the Patriots and Steelers, assuming all they and the Colts win their divisions. Tennessee won't match 2008 imo, but they'll still be a good team, and Jacksonville will be better. I'm tempted to say Houston will as well, but let's see what happens with their headline free agents (Dunta Robinson, Demeco Ryans, Owen Daniels).
The Colts will be a better team in 2010, but 2009 with the easier schedule probably provides a better chance to get it all. Young guys need to grow up. I'm excited for it.
Just a reminder
Leave it to New Orleans' fans to look at curses and blah, blah. Here is an interesting one that has withstood the test of time:
It is called the “Tampa Bay Curse’’ and it goes something like this:
No team has ever lost to Tampa Bay during the regular season and gone on to win the Super Bowl that same season.
It has held true from the Buccaneers’ inception in 1976 through the 2008 season and 2009 playoffs.
Here’s how the “Tampa Curse’’ unfolds:
*-denotes a playoff team
1977: NO, St. Louis Cardinals
1978: Min*, Atl*, KC, Chi, Buf
1979: Det, Baltimore Colts, GB, Chi*, Min, Det, NYG, KC, LA Rams* (Rams lost Super Bowl XIV)
1980: Cin, LA Rams*, SF, NYG, GB
1981: Min, St. Louis Cardinals, Det, GB, Chi, NO, Atl
1982: NO, Buf, Det*, Chi, Mia* (Dolphins lost Super Bowl XVII)
1983: Min, Houston Oilers
1984: Det, GB, Min, NYG*, Atl, NYJ
1985: St. Louis Cardinals, Det
1986: Det, Buf
1987: Atl, Det, GB, Min* (Vikings lost NFC Championship)
1988: GB, Det, Buf* (Bills lost AFC Championship)
1989: GB, NO, Chi, Phx
1990: Det, Min, GB, Atl
1991: Phi, Ind, Det* (Lions lost NFC Championship)
1992: Phx, GB, Det, Chi
1993: Det*, Atl, Min*, Chi, Den*
1994: Ind, Det*, Min*, Was, LA Rams
1995: Phi*, Was, Car, Cin, Min, Jax, GB* (Packers lost NFC Championship)
1996: Min*, Oak, SD, NO, Was, Chi
1997: SF, Det*, Min*, Mia*, Arz, Ind, Atl, NE*, NYG*, Chi
1998: Chi, NYG, Car, GB*, Pit, Cin, Min* (Vikings lost NFC Championship in OT)
1999: Phi, Den, Chi, NO, KC, Atl, Sea*, Min*, Det*, GB
2000: NE, Chi, Det, Min*, Atl, GB, Buf, Dal, Mia*, StL*
2001: Dal, GB*, Min, Det, Cin, NO, Bal*, StL* (Rams lost Super Bowl XXXVI)
2002: Bal, StL, Cin, Atl*, Cle*, Car, Min, GB*, Det, Chi
2003: Atl, Was, Dal*, NYG, NO, Hou, Phi* (Eagles were #1 seed in NFC, lost NFC Championship)
2004: NO, Chi, KC, SF, Atl* (Falcons lost NFC Championship)
2005: Min, Buf, GB, Det, Mia, Was*, Atl, NO, Car*
2006: Cin, Phi*, Was, Cle
2007: NO, StL, Car, Ten*, Arz, Atl, Was*
2008: Atl*, Chi, GB, Car*, Sea, KC, Min*, Det, NO
2009: GB*, NO*, Sea (NO was the #1 seed in the NFC)
*Three teams (1979 Rams, 1982 Dolphins, 2001 Rams) came close to breaking the curse, making it to the Super Bowl. But all three lost. The 2001 Rams arguably came the closest - losing to the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI to Adam Vinatieri's last-second game-winning field goal.
*Counting 1976-2008, the Curse has had 186 victims, including 49 playoff teams, 3 Super Bowl losers, 7 conference championship game losers, one #1 playoff seed. Note that the number does not equal Tampa Bay's total franchise victories because many of the victims were beaten by Tampa Bay twice in the same season.
*For 2009, Tampa Bay beat two NFC playoff teams...the #1 seed New Orleans, as well as #5 Green Bay. Results are pending.
Well, I hope that curse continues. :)
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